The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift, But to Those Who Keep Running*

Running Photo

But what does running have to do with writing, or horses, or the military, or any of the other things I normally blog about?  Well, running is a part of who I am.  I started running in college to try and unsuccessfully chase away the freshman pounds, but I didn’t become a dedicated runner until my first year in the Navy.  I found that besides the health benefits, running gave me time to think, a peace of mind, and that there really was something to that whole endorphin-high rumor.  I made many running friends, entered numerous fun events, explored new trails and sights, AND fit into my clothes better.  I loved the solitude of a long run and found that answers to questions came to me while running that I otherwise could not figure out.  I owe a lot in life to my running habit.

 

As the title suggests, I am not a fast runner, but I have kept going.  I’ve met people who have been discouraged by running, so since it is National Running Day, I thought I’d offer my personal advice for what has worked for me.  And all this for free!

  1.  Start slow.  Real slow.  Even if you walk a minute, then run a minute; some start is better than none.  This was probably the key to me continuing to run when I became dedicated.  I had always gone out too fast, became completely out of breath, and thought “this sucks.”  Start slow and build.  If you can breathe while you are running, you’re more likely to stick with it.
  2. Listen to music you like that will motivate you.  Bonus:  you also can’t listen to yourself breathing hard or hear the cat calls from your adoring fans.
  3. Buy good shoes; don’t skimp here.  If you don’t know what kind of shoes to buy, go to a good reputable running store with knowledgeable salespeople and ask.  Replace shoes every six months once you regularly use them.
  4. Find places you like to run – parks, running trails, bike trails, neighborhoods, gyms, your own treadmill – and break up the routine.  If you like where you run, you’re more likely to do it.
  5. Finally, set you OWN goals, not someone else’s.  Are your goals to improve your distance or time, or are they to ensure you are doing something good and healthy for yourself at least a few times a week?  Are your goals to run in every local park?  Do you want to complete a 10K?  Or are you motivated by ensuring you squeeze out at least a few hours a week just for you?  Whatever your goals; make them yours, adjust them accordingly, and keep a running log to see your patterns.

What better day for a new start than National Running Day?  If the President has time…and Oprah had time…don’t you?

*Author unknown, but in reference to Ecclesiastes 9:11

 

 

 

 

 

Measuring Success

How do you measure success as a writer?

Novel Publicity posed this as one of its author Facebook page questions last week.  I’ve considered this question regularly, and need to come back to it when I get off track.  I SHOULD develop a writing mantra along the lines of “Success equals creating something meaningful.”  Okay, need to work on the mantra, but I think you get my point.

Forces must have realized I needed to think about it, as I came across Charlotte Carter’s blog entry, Win Vs. Compete.  Her final question:  “Where do you fit on the competitiveness scale?” I’m very proud of my military background and heritage.  However, spending 25-years in competitive organizations among extremely competitive people drove a competitive edge into me that I don’t think was there by nature.  And now, as a writer, it’s time to focus on what I want as part of the process and in the end, not what someone else has defined for me as success. [Read more…]

Hold Fast to Dreams

Chance of a Lifetime – MRS Photography, LLC

Dreams”  (Langston Hughes)

“Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die,

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is like a barren field

Frozen with snow.”

My grandmother transcribed this poem for me when I was very young, with the following words of encouragement:  “I saw this and thought you might like it.  Of course, I like your poems better.”  She left out the author’s name, and had no idea Langston Hughes had penned the poem.  Even if she had, it would not have changed her sentiment.  When I was a child, I loved to write, and I loved horses, and my grandmother did whatever she could to make me believe I was good at both.  She believed in me, and wanted me to live my dreams.       [Read more…]

Veterans and the Eleventh Hour

I don’t know if it was just me, but this year the country seemed to be incredibly thankful on Veteran’s Day.  Social networking sites were flooded with posts, re-posts, and personal thanks.  Media coverage appeared higher than usual, and even The Washington Post included a front page article, Unbroken Spirit, about a brave young quadruple amputee veteran.  My words can’t do justice to this hero.  If you read the article, I think you’ll see what I mean.

I received numerous e-mails from friends and relatives yesterday, including the following:

“A Time to pause, a Time to grieve, a Time to remember, a Time to honor, a Time to be proud to be an American.  Thank you both for your service to us all.  Our best wishes for a thoughtful day for all who have served our country.” [Read more…]